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Identification of Firearms Holders by the [Fe(PDT)3]+2 Complex: Quantitative Determination of Iron Transfer to the Hand and Its Dependence on Palmer Moisture Levels

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 49 Issue: 6 Dated: November 2004 Pages: 1215-1219
Yaniv Y. Avissar M.Sc.; Assaf E. Sagiv M.Sc.; Daniel Mandler Ph.D.; Joseph Almog Ph.D.
Date Published
November 2004
5 pages
This paper reports on the first quantitative determination of the iron amounts that are transferred to the hand by a single holding of a firearm and the relationship of iron amounts to palm moisture (sweat).
The study consisted of three stages: the extraction and quantitative determination of the magenta complex from the palms, expressed in terms of iron density on the skin; palm moisture measurements and correlation with iron density levels; and an initial attempt to determine the relative importance of the two processes that are likely to control iron transfer from the firearm to the hand, i.e., mechanical dislodgment compared with chemical dissolution. Determination of the iron traces left on the hands of volunteers who held firearms in their hands was accomplished spectrophotometrically by using 3-(2-pyridyl)-5,6-diphenyl-1,2,4-triazine (PDT) as an agent for producing the instantaneous development of a magenta stain caused by reaction to the presence of iron. The transfer of iron from firearms to the palm was found to be primarily a result of a chemical (dissolution) rather than a mechanical dislodgment. The primary factor that determined the amount of iron transferred from the firearm to the hand was the moisture level on the palm while the gun was being held. The stain intensity produced by the reaction of PDT and iron correlated well with the amounts of iron extracted from the hand. A study of the influence of other physiological factors on the iron transfer is underway. 3 figures, 1 table, and 26 references